Warning: I'm about to regale to you all the cutest ever homecoming story to almost go horribly awry. Buckle up.
My little brother, Alex, isn’t a fan of big spectacles. So when he told us a couple weeks ago what he had planned for his homecoming date, I think we were all more or less bamboozled.
"I’m going to do a picnic for her," he said, just as casually as that. "Under the stars, overlooking the water."
This is a guy who once shot me in the face with an Airsoft gun. This is a guy who once ordered 162 chicken wings with his friends, necessitating the use of three different waiters, after which they all threw up in the bathroom. I don’t think any of us thought he was capable of anything even resembling romance, much less a PICNIC under the STARS overlooking the WATER.
He had the plan. What he needed, however, was help with the execution. So while he was picking up his date and doing the picture thing with her parents, he needed somebody to set the whole shindig up. I, along with roughly my entire extended family, all of whom were visiting, volunteered. We wanted in on this action.
The set-up was pretty painless. Everybody argued over which specific spot of grass had the better view, and then everybody argued about whether or not it would be too dark by the time they arrived, and then everybody placed bets on when the sun was going to set, with the result that we were all aggressively off-track by the time my mother checked her phone and said suddenly, "Oh my God." You see, my mom has that Find My iPhone app, ostensibly to find our phones when we lose them but actually just to spy on us. (I’ll sometimes take a wrong turn driving back to college, whereupon she will call me to say, "What are you doing?" like the exasperated guardian angel I didn’t know I had.) Anyway, we all turned to look at her, and she stared back at us in horror. "I think they’re on the move!"
So we kicked it into high gear. My aunt, mom, and grandma quickly situated the food smorgasbord with an efficiency more suited to well-oiled machines. Meanwhile, I was spilling salsa on the tablecloth, in a graceless fiasco that surprised no one. Just as I was trying to (inconspicuously) cover up the salsa-stained corner with a plate of finger sandwiches, my mom checked her phone again. She frowned. She gasped. And then her face registered horror of the "the call is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE" variety.
"THEY’RE COMING. DOWN THE ROAD. RIGHT. NOW. THEY ARE LITERALLY HERE."
I’d like to say that I personally kept a cool head as the situation deteriorated, but two things would contradict that statement: 1) the way I blatantly disrupted my aunt’s attempt at a "let’s stay calm here" discourse with my panic-stricken screech of "SCATTER!" and also 2) the fact that, as we were all sprinting, shrieking, back to the car (because everyone did, in fact, scatter), I faintly recall at one point having shouted, "RUN FASTER, GRANDMA, OR WE’RE LEAVING YOU BEHIND." All I can say is that it got real up in there. Loyalties were tested. Fates were sealed. Grandma just barely made it to the car.
"He was supposed to text us a warning!" my mom hissed.
"Well," I said, sliding over frantically to make room in the backseat and mule-kicking my cousin in the process as Grandma lunged for the car, "he certainly didn’t do THAT."
It was at this point that "WHERE THE @#$% ARE THE KEYS?" became something of a recurring theme—and when we finally, finally found them, my aunt said, "Hold on, kids," like some kind of action hero, burning rubber as she launched that car full of screaming people down the road and out of sight. Approximately five seconds later, Alex and his date arrived. They had no way of knowing that we were just around the corner, cheering and high-fiving like idiots in the wake of our daring but triumphant escape. Unless, of course, they could hear. We had the windows down, after all. And we weren’t exactly quiet. Whoops.
So there you have it! Like every good homecoming story, it involved a dash of romance, a bit of adventure, a getaway vehicle, and spilled salsa. I’m told those two crazy kids had fun. Apparently her favorite part of the whole ordeal was the chocolate milk Alex served in wine glasses, which we, for all our shrieking and sprinting and flailing and mule-kicking, had nothing to do with. That was all him.
You’re a smooth operator, Alex. The world of Manklers could benefit from your eternal wisdom.
Did this story make you laugh hysterically and squee at the same time? US TOO. Anyone else got romance tips for our manklers?